Denmark and Norway to shut embassies in Afghanistan, evacuate staff 

by Reuters in , , August 13th, 2021
Denmark's Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod speaks during a news conference as the country is to temporarily close its embassy in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, and evacuate the employees, in Copenhagen, Denmark, August 13, 2021. Ritzau Scanpix/Nils Meilvang via REUTERS

Denmark's Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod speaks during a news conference as the country is to temporarily close its embassy in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, and evacuate the employees, in Copenhagen, Denmark, August 13, 2021. Ritzau Scanpix/Nils Meilvang via REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark and Norway said on Friday they are closing their embassies in Kabul for now because of the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, and evacuating their staff.

The Taliban tightened their grip on Afghanistan on Friday, wresting control of its second and third biggest cities while Western embassies prepared to send in troops to help evacuate staff from the capital.

"We have decided to temporarily close our embassy in Kabul," Danish foreign minister Jeppe Kofod told journalists, adding that the evacuation would be closely coordinated with Norway, with which it shares a compound.

Norway's foreign minister Ine Soreide later said it would also shut its embassy and evacuate Norwegian diplomats, local employees and their close relatives.

The defeats have fuelled concern that Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government could fall to the insurgents within weeks as international forces complete their withdrawal after 20 years of war.

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